Friday, April 30, 2010


Upma (pronounced oop-ma) is an Indian breakfast food, but I made it recently for a friend's Indian themed dinner party. I think it's savoury enough to be able to pass as a side dish for dinner!

1 cup semolina
2 tbs oil
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely diced carrot
1/2 cup cashews
1 cup frozen peas
1 chopped red chilli
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbs lemon juice

Dry roast the semolina in a wok until it is two shades darker, then set aside.
Heat the oil in the same wok. When hot, add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry for 1 minute.
Add the onions, carrots and cashews, and fry for 8 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients (including the semolina) and mix thoroughly.
Gradually add three cups of hot water whilst constantly stirring.
Cook until the mixture comes together (it almost sticks together in a ball).
Serve garnished with coriander leaves and grated fresh coconut.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cookbook challenge, week 23: Spinach pie (spanikopita)

This week's theme: leaf. I decided to try a recipe from one of my older cookbooks, Cooking the Greek Way (published 1984!). Side note: I love looking through old cookbooks but find it harder to want to cook from them, as the food styling isn't always the most attractive!

Anyway, the recipe chosen was spinach pie. It fits the leaf theme nicely with plenty of spinach, parsley and dill. The original recipe specified 15 sheets of phyllo pastry and 3/4 cup melted butter, but I used the much easier and healthier alternative of puff pastry)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
500g frozen spinach, thawed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbs fresh/1 tbs dried dill (I left this out)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely crumbed feta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of nutmeg
2-3 sheets puff pastry (depending on size and shape of dish.

Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Strain and squeeze excess moisture from the thawed spinach.
Heat olive oil in a frypan over medium-high heat.
Add onions and cook 4 minutes while stirring.
Add spinach and cook 3 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
While cooling, mix together the parsley, dill, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, or a quiche dish, or similar.
Line the base with a single layer of puff pastry.
Stir the herb and spice mixture into the spinach.
Spread the mix evenly on the pastry.
Cover with another layer of puff pastry. Seal edges by moistening with a little water.
Cut a cross in the middle to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 45 minutes until golden.
Cool 5 minutes before slicing.

Filling the pie:


About to go into the oven:




About to eat:


It was pretty tasty! Interestingly it had a bit of a zingy, lemon flavour, despite no lemon in the recipe. Although it would be deviating from the original recipe even more, I'd like to try it using a shortcrust pastry, it's a great pie filling.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bubble tea from Mo Mo Bubble Tea and Coffee House

I love bubble tea! It's always something I overdose on when I head interstate. There's only been one place that I can think of who has sold it here in Hobart but with a really limited selection of flavours and it wasn't all that great, so I'm glad that Mo Mo Bubble Tea and Coffee House has appeared on Murray St (where the Short Black Cafe was until 2 or 3 months ago).


Pictured is a caramel black tea with coconut jelly, regular for $3.50. Yum! They offer green or black tea bases, coconut or fruit jelly, tapioca pearls, and flavours that include taro, matcha, passionfruit, red bean, lychees, peach, and heaps more.

My favourite bubble tea flavour ever is white chocolate, which is hard to find even in Melbourne... I might suggest it to Mo Mo :)

They also do iced teas, coffee, noodles, rice, pastries, rolls, wraps, plus lots more. There's a trend towards vegetarian food and everything looks fresh and is good value. It's close to my work so I have a feeling I'll be a regular!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Back in Hobart!

J and I spent three-and-a-bit weeks in Thailand and had an amazing time. Posts on Thailand food will be coming soon!

We've been home for two weeks and it took me a little while to get back into the swing of things, but I'll be cooking and blogging regularly again soon.

In the meantime, some food-related snippets:

Cold Rock in North Hobart is open! We had our first cups last night and I very much enjoyed my Bailey's and scorched almond icecream with Ferrero Rocher and peanut M&Ms mixed in. There was a considerable queue when we arrived - it's popular!
Next door is the new Pretzel World, which was closed but they had pretzels on display in a counter in Cold Rock. I didn't think pretzels were something I like, but the ones on display looked (and smelled!) pretty tasty.

An Asian grocer, Sandy Mart, has opened in Elizabeth Street in the city, just up from Island Cafe. This is fantastic - I always forget to visit the grocers in Sandy Bay or Moonah on the weekend. I'll be checking it out soon!

Dinner at the New Sydney Hotel is as good as ever. I've recently enjoyed the lemon chicken with asparagus, rosti and sauce béarnaise (pictured below) and the pesto chicken tagliatelle with pine nuts and white wine cream sauce (although I think they forgot my pine nuts!). Apparently they'll be changing to a winter menu soon.

lemon chicken

I went to the Bund in Shanghai, Sandy Bay, for the first time. We opted for the $48 banquet which came with the following: Spring Rolls, Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup, Strawberry Pork Ribs, Sizzling Garlic King Prawn, Shredded Beef in Peking sauce, Famous Kung Bao chicken, Cantonese Roast Duck, Stir Fried Fresh Vegetables in Ginger & Garlic, The Bund Special Fried Rice and Fried Ice Cream.
I particularly enjoyed the duck (amazing crispy skin!) and the strawberry pork ribs. It was a lot of very tasty food and generally very good service, considering we were a large group.

I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at the New Town Station Nursery Cafe. I don't usually order sweet things for breakfast but I thoroughly enjoyed their French toast with bacon, banana and maple syrup. Excellent service, too.

Mt Elephant Pancakes are great. I've had their chicken, camembert and blueberry pancake as well as their satay chicken, and both were fantastic. They also happily cooked egg-free pancakes for an allergic friend.

Masterchef is back! I happily admit to loving this show. Sure, it's reality TV but there is plenty of insight into the food and cooking processes (unlike another show that recently aired), no viewer voting, and likeable hosts and judges (I love Matt Preston!).